Maui Arts & Entertainment

MOC Night at the Reef to Highlight Hawai‘i’s Coral

June 15, 2016, 10:00 AM HST
* Updated July 7, 6:11 PM
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Hawai‘i coral. Maui Now stock photo. June 2016

Hawai‘i coral. Maui Now stock photo. June 2016

Discover the fascinating world of corals during Maui Ocean Center’s annual event, Night at the Reef: Incredible Corals, on Tuesday, July 5, from 7:30 to 10 p.m.

The evening event brings the importance of coral reefs and coral reproduction into the spotlight for guests and members of the marine science community.

MOC is home to the world’s largest collection of live Pacific corals, all of which are found in Hawaiian waters.

The 41 Hawaiian coral species housed at the aquarium include a number of rare and endemic species; they are found nowhere else in the world.

Doors open at 7pm for pre-event refreshments, shopping, and live entertainment. General admission is $30.00 for adults and $25.00 for children ages 3-12. Prices are tax inclusive. Aquarium members, Hawaii residents, and U.S. military receive 20% off admission with valid ID. Space is limited, advance reservations are recommended. Event tickets will soon be available on Reservations are currently available by calling (808) 270-7075.


Coral reefs provide the foundation for life both in the aquarium and ocean, providing structures and homes for thousands of marine plants and animals.

Rice coral spawning. Photo courtesy Pauline Fiene.

Rice coral spawning. Photo courtesy Pauline Fiene.


Based on the summer lunar cycle, it is predicted that the rice coral species around Maui and in the aquarium exhibits will spawn on this night, enabling guests to potentially witness an incredibly unique and rare phenomenon.

In 2015, guests were treated to a coral spawning spectacle in several of the exhibits.

While the evening will focus on coral reproduction, it will also feature important coral topics, including coral biology, coral bleaching and how individuals can reduce their negative impact on coral reefs.


A Coral 101 Exploration Station and How You Can Help station will be hosted by the aquarium’s marine naturalists.

Divers will conduct an underwater presentation among sharks and rays in the 750,000-gallon Open Ocean exhibit.

Eco-organizations will be present, including Project S.E.A.-Link, NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries, Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Hawai‘i Association for Marine Education and Research.

Coral expert and marine biologist Dave Gulko of the Division of Aquatic Resources will be the keynote speaker.

Biologist, coauthor and Women Divers Hall of Fame member Pauline Fiene of Mike Severns Diving will also be in attendance. She has over 28 years of experience in Hawaiian marine life studies.

The evening will feature live jazz music by Phil and Angela Benoit in the Retail Plaza, where Maui Ocean Treasures will be open for shopping.

At the Reef Café, a cash bar, heavy pūpū, snacks and desserts will be available for purchase.

Complimentary coffee, juice, and iced tea are included with admission.

Video of previous coral spawning will be presented throughout the evening. While live coral spawning is expected to occur on July 5, it is not guaranteed due to numerous environmental variables.

Scene from the Maui Ocean Center. Courtesy image.

Scene from the Maui Ocean Center. Courtesy image.

An underwater robotic camera from NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries will be in the Discovery Pool during the event, sending back live images of any coral spawning to a screen in the park.

Maui Ocean Center will donate a portion of the event proceeds to Project S.E.A.-Link, a local non-profit organization that promotes marine science education and awareness by providing a link between students, teachers, scientists, the local community, other nonprofit organizations and government agencies.

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